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Officials admit error over glass remelt target

Defra officials have made a significant mistake in the Packaging Waste Regulations Amendment, approved in early December last year.

The wrong formula was used for calculating the proportion of a producer’s glass obligations that have to be met by PRNs/PERNs from remelt. The glass remelt obligation in the amendment was not the one proposed during consultation.

This has now been resolved with the publication of a letter by Defra, explaining that the Government department was altering the Packaging Waste Regulations Amendment “to correct the error”.

Defra’s head of recycling team, Simon Dawes, wrote: “The Government’s policy and intention remain that, in 2013, this [proportion] should be 63% of a producer’s total glass recycling obligation; the incorrect formula contained in the regulations yields a higher remelt obligation than the intended 63%.  The department is taking action to amend the regulations to correct the error.”

Dawes said the Environment Agency will be publishing a statement to clarify its position on the error, and confirming it will be enforcing the glass remelt obligation as calculated by the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD), rather than the previous incorrect formula.

Obligated parties will be expected to comply with the NPWD until the formula can be corrected, the letter added.

The mistake effectively inflated the glass melt target by around a quarter, according to calculations by compliance consultants 360 Environmental. Director Phil Conran called it “an embarrassing mistake”.

“I don’t think people realised the regulations had wrongly been put forward. So no-one was unduly worried because everybody has just assumed that the system was going to operate the way it has already been envisaged,” Conran added.



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